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Apartment Owners Must Register Guests After 90 Days

If you stay at a friend or relative's apartment in Russia for more than 90 days, the owner of the property will have to report your presence to the Federal Migration Service, news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Last week, changes to long-standing requirements for Russians and foreigners in Russia to register their place of residence with authorities went into force.

"The registration rules oblige owners of residential properties to inform the relevant authorities if a friend is living there," Alexander Aksyonov, head of registrations and passports at the migration service, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. The stipulation only applies if the guest stays for more than 90 days.

Owners that fail to inform the authorities risk legal action. Officials from the migration service will not be spot-checking apartments, Aksyonov said, but violators still risk being found out. If mysteriously large amounts of water and gas are being used in an apartment, for example, utility companies could sound the alarm, he said.

Ostensibly, the new rules are designed to combat "rubber apartments," a term that refers either to apartments in which up to thousands of people are registered but do not live, or to apartments that house large numbers of unregistered, often migrant, workers.

Registrations are not a laughing matter. Owners of a fictitious registration can be fined up to 500,000 rubles ($13,500) or face imprisonment for up to three years.

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